Tuesday's announcement on fuel standards came just one week and one day after President Obama made another key announcement on healthcare. At both announcements, Obama was heralding an unprecedented moment of cooperation he organized and executed, in which formerly uncooperative industries had been dragged to the negotiating table.

It is hard to deny that this is change. Seriously.

Sure, we can assume that car companies, particularly those nearly owned by the government, will struggle to rush to compliance with the new rules and that in meeting the new standards they will pass new costs onto the consumer. We don't know if those costs will be mitigated by savings at the pump.

But it undoubtedly was a game-changer, at least potentially. “It launches a new beginning,” said David McCurdy, president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. “The president has succeeded in bringing three regulatory bodies, 15 states, a dozen automakers and many environmental groups to the table.”

As with his healthcare industry compromise, the success of Obama's fuel emissions compromise may or may not materialize. But I am curious to see what it does to his near-future poll numbers.


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